I am a member of several professional organizations–ISA (International Society of Automation), SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers), and IEEE Computer Society. Every year or so when I send in dues, I ponder the value I get for the money. Especially since I’m not a practicing engineer or manufacturer. I guess I want to be informed and connected.
What I really would like to know from this international audience of readers of this blog is–what value do you get from membership? Or, what value would you LIKE to get from membership? ISA now explicitly claims to be international. What value (or not) would you get from being part of an international society rather than national or local? Please comment so that others can play off the ideas. Thanks.
The top benefits I’m looking for in an association are leadership opportunities, professional networking, and career development (in that order).
If you have any leadership aspirations, joining a trade association is an excellent way to get training, opportunities and mentoring. Developing leadership qualities causes a positive "trickle down" effect in your own career.
As a business owner, networking is critical not just for turning up potential business leads, but also partnership opportunities and learning new management practices.
Finally, attending workshops and meetings provide career development tips and advice. It’s a way to interact with folks who have been there and done that, but aren’t necessarily constrained by the dynamics of competition or office politics that may be involved with your work colleagues.
Notice that news, commentary, or information are nowhere to be found on my benefits list. There are plenty of other (read: better) sources than an association.